Mississippi St. Bulldogs (1-1) at Kentucky Wildcats (0-2)
- Date: October 10th, 2020
- Game Time: 7:30 pm EST
- Location: Kroger Field in Lexington, KY
- TV Channel: Tonight’s game can be seen on the SEC Network.
- Announcers: Tom Hart, Jordan Rodgers and Cole Cubelic will call tonight’s action.
- Online Stream: WatchESPN and fuboTV
- Replay: WatchESPN and SEC Network (check local listings).
- Radio: Tom Leach and Jeff Piecoro will have the UK radio network call on 630 AM, 98.1 FM in Lexington, and on the UK Sports Network.
- Online radio: TuneIn broadcast or UKAthletics.com.
- Rosters: UK | MSU
- Odds: Kentucky opened as a 3-point favorite, dropped to 1.5, and is now back to 3 as of Saturday afternoon. ESPN’s matchup predictor gives Kentucky a 64.7% chance of getting the win. The over/under is 57.5.
- Weather: 67 degrees with a chance of rain at kickoff (via Covers).
- Prediction: TeamRankings has Kentucky winning 30-27 win, while numberFire went with a 29-28 victory for Kentucky.
It seems like in a matter of a few months we went from UK having a great roster to college football maybe not happening to an all SEC schedule that may spoil a potential strong season from the Kentucky Wildcats. So far, the later has been happening in full effect.
Kentucky fell on the road in week one to Auburn after several self-inflicted wounds. Week two saw Ole Miss steal a win in Lexington after the Wildcats gave away a touchdown or two and missed an extra point. Now Mississippi State is on deck, and their Jekyll and Hyde performances make it nearly impossible to predict what we will see at Kroger Field on Saturday.
The Bulldogs beat defending national champion LSU in week one behind a huge offensive performance, including 623 passing yards from quarterback K.J. Costello. Mississippi State put up 44 points at LSU, making LSU the first defending champion to lose their opening game since 1998.
Costello started at Stanford in 2017 and 2018 before injuries sidelined him, and then he signed up to run Mike Leach’s air raid offense in Starkville. He started the season off with a bang in Baton Rouge, but then struggled at home against Arkansas where he threw three interceptions and only led his team to 14 points.
As we saw when Leach helped Hal Mumme run this offense with Tim Couch, it is very much feast or famine. The Mississippi State Bulldogs feasted at LSU but then failed to gain any traction against Arkansas, breaking the Razorbacks’ impressive 20 game SEC losing streak. Which Bulldogs team will we see on Saturday? That depends on UK’s defense.
The Kentucky Wildcats’ secondary was supposed to be a strength this season, returning nearly everyone from a breakout performance last year. However, they currently rank near the bottom of the NCAA in pass defense. If the secondary lives up to their potential, they should be able to slow down the Mississippi State offense. If not, they may be in trouble.
On the flip side, Kentucky did score 41 points this weekend against Ole Miss. Terry Wilson had the second best quarterback grade in the country this weekend. And the Wildcats still managed to lose to the Rebels and the offense (mostly AJ Rose’s peace sign and the missed extra point) got most of the blame.
It can be easy to analyze a match-up that is strength-on-strength or strength vs. weakness, but with Mississippi State coming to Lexington it is difficult to know what to expect. Passing is supposed to be the Bulldogs’ strength offensively and Kentucky’s strength defensively, but neither unit has proven themselves to be that consistently.
Mississippi and Kentucky have both given up 32+ points per game, so what can we expect from either defense? Both teams have also averaged over 29 points per game, but the range in scores in those games is from 13 to 44. So what you are getting from either team on either side of the ball is anyone’s guess.
Kentucky opened as a 3 point favorite at home, making this basically a pick ‘em game. These teams have split the last four meetings, with each team winning at home in the last five match-ups. So could the Cats be due for a win in the series? We will find out Friday at 7:30 p.m.